Advanced powertrains push up pickup ratings

Trusted with hauling our boats to the lake or building materials to the job site, full size trucks are the workhorses of America. These capable rigs are also some of the most popular ways to get around. Ford’s F-150 remains America’s perennial top seller, again racking up annual sales of over half a million units. Other popular full-size pickups include the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.

2012 Ford F-150

For our 2012 rankings, these trucks are configured with access cabs and four wheel drive (4WD) to reflect options chosen by many consumers.

The Ford F-150, the only truck scored to come with a V6 engine as standard equipment while configured with 4WD, earns a first place eRating of 93. This base 3.7 literĀ engine size achieves a combined gas mileage of 18 mpg and delivers up to 302 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque.

If you want more power for your towing or hauling needs, Ford offers its turbocharged 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6, which provides 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. With this more advanced engine technology, the truck gets 63 more horses while giving up only 1 mpg overall. Ford’s EcoBoost-equipped F-150 has proven to be a popular choice, recently accounting for 42 percent of all F-150 sales, and earns an eRating of 91.

2012 Ram 1500

The Ram 1500 with a 4.7 liter 310 horsepower V8 earns second place among full-size pickup nameplates with its eRating of 85. New for 2012 were a recalibrated six speed automatic transmission and available Tradesman HD and Mossy Oak trim levels that offer Ram buyers best-in-class towing capacity and unique camouflaged trim accents, respectively.

Also included is a multi-link coil spring rear suspension, a ride-improving feature unique to the Ram. Other contenders in this segment stick to leaf spring equipped rear axles to keep payload and towing ratings high, but the 1500 doesn’t give any ground thanks to a frame that incorporates high-strength steel in critical areas.

The Toyota Tundra and Chevy Silverado earn eRatings of 78 and 75. The Tundra, rated J.D. Power and Associates most dependable large pickup for six years in a row, offers a long list of standard features for 2012 including a heavy duty battery and starter, daytime running lights, mudguards and windshield wiper de-icer.

For 2012, the Silverado boasts a new chrome mesh grille and an exciting array of new metallic exterior colors. If your loyalties instead lie with GMC, Chevrolet’s professional-orientated big brother, the Sierra shares everything from MSRP and powertrain to fuel economy and eRating. The Silverado is also the only full size truck available as a hybrid. The Silverado Hybrid, featured in a previous article on green pickups, earns an eRating of 101.

Right behind the Silverado, the Nissan Titan earns an eRating of 73. The Titan comes with the largest engine as standard equipment, a 5.6 liter 317 horsepower V8, and fuel economy suffers accordingly. Options include a Sport Appearance Package with captain’s chairs in place of a standard bench seat and 20 inch aluminum alloy wheels.

With greener options available such as Ford’s popular EcoBoost engine and the Silverado Hybrid, these well loved full-size trucks are making steady gains in efficiency.

Make and Model$MSRPSpecsCity/Hwy/Comb
Ford F-15031,7353.7 L 302 hp V6,
6-speed auto
16 / 21 / 1893
Ram 150031,6504.7 L 310 hp V8,
6-speed auto
14 / 19 / 1685
Toyota Tundra31,5454.6 L 310 hp V8,
6-speed auto
14 / 19 / 1678
Chevy Silverado31,4154.8 L 302 hp V8,
4-speed auto
13 / 18 / 1575
Nissan Titan32,3655.6 L 317 hp V8,
5-speed auto
12 / 17 / 1472

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